On Jan. 22, the VSCPA Board of Directors approved a proposal to amend the VSCPA Bylaws to allow the Society to be more nimble and future-focused to meet the rapidly changing needs of the CPA profession. As part of developing the VSCPA2025 strategic framework, the Board discussed the challenges the VSCPA currently faces with its membership model and the need for more flexibility to ensure long-term viability and relevance.
Members in attendance at the 2018 VSCPA annual meeting May 10 voted to send the proposal to a member vote. The entire membership will now receive ballots via email or through mail, depending on communication preferences, on June 1 with a deadline of June 22. Two-thirds of ballots received must be in favor to enact the changes.
UPDATE: VSCPA members approved the bylaws proposal, with 84 percent of votes in favor of the changes. All changes take effect immediately, with the elimination of the Life member status beginning with the 2019–2020 membership year. Current Life members, including those added at the Leaders' Summit in May 2018, will be grandfathered in.
Click here (PDF) to view a redlined document of all proposed changes, which are summarized below:
- Fellow membership criteria (Section 2.2.1): The proposal simplifies the language for Fellow members, since all CPAs must meet all licensing requirements to obtain membership. Peer review requirements for membership will be included in Board policies.
- Student membership criteria (Section 2.2.4): The proposal allows for additional flexibility for membership options to support the VSCPA strategy to encourage students to become CPAs. Specific student membership requirements will be included in Board policies.
- Life member dues waiver (Section 4.4 (1)): The proposal eliminates the Life Member status and requirement to waive membership dues for individuals that have been a member for 40 consecutive fiscal years. Based on association trends, in-depth research and financial analysis, the Board determined the waiver is not sustainable and the VSCPA must focus resources on building our pipeline of future CPAs, growing membership in new and innovative ways, and increasing meaningful engagement at all stages of membership.
The Society will continue to honor members obtaining the 40-year milestone for their loyalty and commitment, including special recognition at the VSCPA’s annual Honors & Awards dinner and a renewed focus on engagement. The waiver would discontinue effective for the 2019–2020 membership year, and current Life Members would be grandfathered and maintain their $0 dues rate. In making the recommendation, the Board considered the following:
- Aging membership: Despite our membership growth, due to the aging population and demographic trends, the VSCPA is losing dues-paying members at a faster rate than we’re gaining them — retirees (8 percent), life members (11 percent) and new recruits (2 percent). This gap translates to a major financial impact. For fiscal 2019, the VSCPA is losing $140,000 with the Life Member dues waiver and we anticipate the revenue loss will rise significantly over the next 10–15 years. An outside market research firm also completed a data analysis of our membership trends and projected the future revenue loss could be as great as $700,000.
- Association trends: The Board also considered future-forward association trends. Many state CPA societies have discontinued their Life Member program or in the process of doing so to lessen the financial burden. The AICPA also made changes to their program in 2013 to address financial and other concerns with member demographics. In the association industry at large, many organizations use “Life Member” status as a recognition program versus a dues waiver or discount.
- Retired member rate: Retired Life Members will still be able take advantage of the VSCPA retired dues rate, which is $85 annually (72 percent discount off full Fellow rate). Fellow and associate members qualify for the retired, part-time or seasonal rate if you work less than 1,000 hours per year.
- Dues tied to fiscal year (Section 4.4 (2)): The proposal removes provisions that aligns dues payments to the VSCPA fiscal year. This supports a more future-forward, flexible membership model.
- Dues refunds (Sections 7.1 and 7.2): The proposal eliminates the provision that mandates dues refunds in the Bylaws, which is typically determined by operational and Board policies.
- Language changes: The Bylaws proposal also includes several changes aimed at modernizing, rephrasing, cleaning up and simplifying language to align with nonprofit organization best practices as recommended by VSCPA legal counsel.
If you have any questions on the proposed changes or the voting process, please contact VSCPA Vice President, Innovation Tina Bates, CAE, at firstname.lastname@example.org.